1.Sister Mary Teresa SMRA and overall collaboration in the planning and implementation of the Picture by Sister Mary Dipti, SMRA, 2006.
2.Timothy John Crowley, CSC, Seeder of the Association and oversees it : Sr. Mary Rose Bernard, CSC.
3.Sisters of the first batch of the association and above the Community of the SMRA association till 2006.
History of The Congregation
have changed. The members of the congregation have increased and so are the
community and apostolate. The small plant-like SMRA congregation has grown into
a big tree, has spread out her branches all over the country, has crossed over
its boundaries and has reached further to Italy. The new novitiate ‘Christo Sadhana Griha’ is re-located at
Daripara near Mother House.
1. a. Members: Today there are 216 SMRA Sisters. The numbers of her members in eternal repose are 65.
b. Communities: The total number of communities is 35. Sisters provide service in eight dioceses (Dhaka, Mymensign, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Dianjpur, Sylhet and Barishal) of Bangladesh.
c. Organizational Structure: The Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Dhaka is the chief authority of the congregation. The Superior General and her six counselors constitute the governing body to serve the Sisters. The House Superior and her counselors of every convent serve as the local authority.
2. a. The Great Dreamer Bishop Armand Legrand, CSC
Rev. Bishop Joseph Armand Legrand, CSC, was a Holy Cross missionary from France and was the second Bishop of Dhaka. Being inspired by the Ad Extremas, the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, bishop dreamt of founding a local congregation at Toomilia, (a parish under Dhaka Archdiocese, where the Mother House of SMRA Congregation is located). Bishop Legrand shared his dream with the American Holy Cross Sisters who were serving at St. Mary’s School. In 1929, he gave the responsibility to the Holy Cross Sisters. But he was not able to see the realization of his dream. As he reached his old age, he decided to retire. The great project of founding a new congregation was entrusted to his successor Rev. Bishop T. J. Crowley, CSC.
2. b. Founder Bishop Timothy John Crowley, CSC
A great and honorable personality is Rev. Bishop Timothy John Crowley, CSC, the founder of the congregation, ‘The Associates of Mary Queen of Apostles’ (SMRA). He was born on January 16, 1880 at Kilmaloc of Limeric Counti in Ireland. In October, 1897 he entered the seminary of Notre Dame University at Indiana in America. He took his perpetual profession in August 15, 1904. He was ordained as a priest in August 2, 1906. He came to Bengal as a missionary in November 6, 1907.
At that time there was a great political commotion in the Indian subcontinent against the British rulers. All government officers were Christians and the Catholic institutions were also prominent. But on the other hand the local civil population, activists were oppressed, inferior and marginalized by the British imperial rulers. The rural poor people were victims of natural calamities every year. Distressed Indian women, specially the Hindu-Muslim women were confined to their homes, deprived of education and human dignity. In that a dark period of Indian history, Bishop Crowley had arrived bearing the light of Christ. Bishop Crowley was a person with compassion towards the lowly and downtrodden people and they found fatherly love in him. In 1915, while he was the pastor at Toomilia parish, he looked for other religious vocations to serve the poor of this region.
When Bishop Armand Legrand, CSC retired in his old age, Bishop Crowley was ordained as the 5th Bishop of Dhaka as his successor in November 11, 1929. At that time the Christian population in Dhaka diocese was around 10, 0000 and there were only 40 catechists, which was not sufficient due to the growing needs specially in the tribal areas where there was a need for more priests, catechists and teachers. Evangelizing activities continue with enthusiasm, thanks to leadership of Bishop Crowley. Bishop Crowley was active, hardworking and efficient and zealous in his pastoral and missionary commitment, influential among his people, undaunted by challenges, pious in prayer life, courageous and enduring in suffering. He was very much interested in using all possible means in order to communicate the Good News among Christians and non-Christians. He established more catechetical centers and appointed catechists to carry on the work of evangelization. He also published books, periodicals, booklets, leaflets and wrote circulars and pastoral letters which enhanced evangelization in whole Church of Bangladesh. Those small publications were distributed among Hindu and Muslims. Once he wrote, We are more blessed than ‘St Francis De Sales’, because in his time there were lacking printing press. Today we have 50 printing presses only in Dhaka city. Dhaka is a city where there are a number of educational institutions as compared to other British-ruled cities in India, a great number of our young boys go to schools; therefore, the numbers of readers of our publications are many (The Bengalese, op. cit. (January 1942).
During the time of World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1943) and during natural calamities (Tornado in September 24, 1919) Bishop Crowley always stood by his people. He took all possible measures to protect his sheep from suffering. During the time of WW II, there was extreme famine and lack of food in East Bengal. Monsignor Michael D’ Costa wrote, The World War has been continuing for two or three years…. Which started problems such as lack of food in the country and increased costs of commodities. The public restaurants did not continue doing business….. Vegetables, rice not available for the people. British Government would give all commodities for the soldiers. The numbers of beggar increased in the city. They suffer from hunger, died of starvation. The beggars in the villages tried to survive by eating the leftovers of the rich. The overwhelming sufferings of the poor continued until the war came to an end. It was the missionaries saved many of them by supplying wheat, flour, and rice. They collected food by applying to the S.D and Magistrates to save people from starvation and death. In order to help the poor, Bishop Crowley wrote a Pastoral letter entitled “Endeavors to Overcome Famine” in October 1943. He wrote, I acknowledge many of you for your for almsgiving. I appreciate your cooperation with your pastor in our attempt to eliminate poverty…. Every person is your neighbor. We should help him irrespective of race, creed and faith. I earnestly request you all men and women, catechists and teachers in each village, so that you will cooperate with your parish priests to eliminate the sufferings of the poor. It is collective work, not individual. We must perform this work having in mind unity among all the Presidents, Members of the Union Board, all Naebs, Staff of Thana, Sub-districts and Supply-Officers……. Priests, Brothers, Sisters and all missionaries must help the poor and distressed as much as possible…….
For his prudent initiatives in establishing solidarity and friendship, universal love for humanity for all Hindus, Muslims, and Christians, and being pleased by his great help to the poor and hungry population during the World War II, the British Government awarded him with a rare Golden Medal “Kaizer-E-Hind (first class award)”. Bishop Crowley was the one who fulfilled the dream of his predecessor Bishop Legrand, CSC by establishing a new congregation with eight local girls. He named his new congregation “Associates of Mary Queen of Apostles” (SMRA). He entrusted this new entity to her patronage Mary Queen of Apostles. Bishop died in October 2, 1945 and was buried at Laxmibazar Church in Dhaka.
2. c. Co-Foundress Sister Mary Rose Bernard, CSC
Sister Mary Rose Bernard CSC was born in October 26, 1894 at South Band City of Indiana Province of America. She was the only daughter of her parents, John J. Gehring and Mary Kolmer Gehring. After finishing her studies in 1912, she committed herself to the service of the prisoners of World War 1. When the war was over, entered the Holy Cross Congregation. She became a postulant on January 3, 1920 and received religious habit on August 15. She made her first profession on 1922 and her perpetual profession on February 17, 1925. In the next two years she studied Bengali language and cultures, journalism and sacred scripture at Holy Cross Foreign Mission Seminary in Washington D.C as her preparation for the mission. She, along with other Holy Cross Sisters started her journey towards her chosen mission country by ship on October 15, 1927 and arrived in Dhaka on December 17. The Superior General of Holy Cross Sisters joyfully agreed to accept the great responsibility of opening a new congregation and she appointed Sister Rose Bernard CSC for this responsibility. The founding period of this new congregation was certainly difficult. Sister Rose Bernard committed whole heartedly being filled with the gifts of Holy Spirit, divine courage and sincerity. She was aware that the existence of the congregation depended on its members’ presence. She protected her daughters from all possible harm. Sister Rose Bernard was a joyful, quiet, modest, humble and at the same time prudent and courageous person. The foundation of the congregation of SMRA was the fruit of her deep spirituality. She drafted the first constitution for her postulants and novices. She wrote the rules and regulations in ‘Bengali’ (the native language), which was not easy for her as she was a foreigner and she sought the assistant from local scholars. She prepared the liturgical prayers. She was friend-like companion to her formees in their life journey. Her mother-like affection, love and compassion were the roots of her formation work and her personality and ability to inspire have affected the vocation of the Sisters.
Sister Rose Bernard had special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The “Magnificat’ was very dear to her. She constructed a Grotto in the Mother House which continues to inspire the Marian devotion of the Sisters until now. She would feel joy in participating in the daily Eucharist, receiving sacraments, visiting villagers and teaching catechism. She was a dramatist, actress, and chanter. She played the piano and taught the Sisters religious hymns and she also wrote drama. The play ‘Mariar Joy’ (Victory of Mary) is one of her writings. She started a community library within the short time of her 5 years stint after the foundation of the congregation.
The congregation was founded for nursing care and education. Sister Rose Bernard sent the newly professed Sisters at Rawalpindi in Pakistan for nursing training. But they found it very hard because of language barrier, and Sister translated the medical books from English into Bengali language and sent to the Sisters. Some Sisters were sent to Intaly in India for teachers’ training and higher study. St Mary’s High school at Toomilia became singificant for educating Hindu, Muslim and Christian girls every year. Sister Rose Bernard gave importance to cultural heritage of the local people. That is why the women movement that advocated women dignity was her first concern through which she communicated the Good News to lowly people of other faiths in that local area.
Sr. Rose Bernard worked over-time in order in order for the young congregation to grow. As a result, her physical condition started to weaken. An internal brain hemorrhage took her life and she died on August 16, 1938 at the Mitford Hospital, Dhaka and was buried at Toomilia.
2. d. History:
Bengal then was known for its famine, natural calamities, illiteracy and undeveloped social system. In those days Indian women in the zenana custom were bound to keep themselves busy only with household works. The social structure did not allow them to go out of their homes. Looking at a man was considered taboo for a woman. They were deprived of education, and were oppressed by harmful superstitions. Native customs opposed male physicians to attend to female members of society. It was practically impossible in Hindu-Muslim cultures for women to be attended by male medical practitioners. They would rather die than to see to male doctors. Many women, especially pregnant women whom were not allowed to see male doctors both mother and child die. Specially, the condition of pregnant mothers trapped in the sunless and airless and allegedly unhygienic condition broke the heart Bishop Crowley with pity for them. This situation motivated Bishop Crowley to open a local congregation with local girls.
In 1927 three Holy Cross Sisters served at Toomolia, and they were Sister Alga, CSC, Sister Rose Bernard, CSC, and Sister Rose Monica, CSC. Teaching, preaching, serving the orphan, helping in the boarding house of premature widows, attending to the sick and giving medicine in the dispensary were the main apostolate of the Sisters. Sister Rose Bernard who noticed the miserable situation of village women also felt the need to start a new congregation with the local girls. It is true that the works of the native Sisters among their own people would be easier and fruitful than foreign missionaries. From experience, the natives know the nature and customs of their people. They have lived among Hindus and Muslims since childhood without arousing any suspicion and it was indeed very important especially in times of crisis.
Bishop Crowley took the initiative to open the new congregation. Sister Rose Bernard was appointed as the Novice Mistress. The eight students, those who had received Diploma of grade VI from St. Mary’s Junior School at Toomolia, were chosen to be the first members of the new congregation. On March 5, 1933, at the chapel of Holy Cross Sisters at Toomilia, through a liturgical ceremony, they entered into the new congregation and thus ‘The Associates of Mary Queen of Apostles’ (SMRA) was born. Toomilia St Mary’s Convent is their Mother House.
From the beginning until 1952, the Congregation was under the Holy Cross Sisters. In 1952 the SMRA Congregation was handed over to her local authority. Sister Mary Agnes, SMRA, who was the first Superior General. The Holy Cross Sisters then left Toomilia and other two convents at Panjora and Rangamatia and were settled at Dhaka city in order to run the Holy Cross College and School. The SMRA Sisters took over the responsibilities of the apostolate in the schools, dispensaries, hostel, orphanage and other social and pastoral activities. After the death of her founder in 1945, the successive Bishops of the Archdiocese of Dhaka, were Archbishop Granner, CSC, Archbishop Theotonius A. Gangulee, CSC, Archbishop Michael Rozario, DD, Archbishop Paulinus Costa, DD, Bishop Theotonius Gomes, CSC ( auxiliary bishop of Dhaka) who took to their heart as an inheritance the SMRA Sisters by accompanying and fostering their growth as a local missionary congregation. The Superior Generals of the Congregation who served in the highest authority were Sister Mary Agnes, SMRA, Sister Mary Petra, SMRA, Sister Mary Marilyn, SMRA, Sister Mary Teresa, SMRA, Sister Mary Priti, SMRA, Sister Mary Dipti, SMRA and Sister Mary Anita, SMRA.
Short History of SMRA Congregation
Preritgoner Rani Mariar Songini Songho, Established March 5, 1933:
Introduction: "The children of the country will bring salvation to the motherland" - The 'Queen of the Apostles' Maria's Companion' planted in the bosom of a Bengali mother bears witness to the success of this message.The seed, which was as small as a mustard seed, grew in a secluded village in the Dhaka Mahadharmapradesh of Banglabhumi. Not only this, with the help of Absolute Father we are able to spread the word about the branch in Italy.Indigenous young women will surrender to the Supreme Creator God for the purpose of expanding the kingdom of God - the hope and aspiration of the Mother Church.In 1793, Leo XIII, Leo XIII, declared in a public letter entitled "Ad Akstramas Orientis" that the Catholic Church could not be firmly established in India until a native priest was anointed.His immortal message was especially important to the Pope and Bishops.
Monsignor Jalanki, the pope's representative in India at the time, said the greatest need in the Indian church was to build and train indigenous priestly communities and, above all, to emphasize this work. Inspired by the same inspiration, His Holiness Bishop Joseph Arma Lagrand, a visionary (Dharmapala) of Dhaka Dharmapradesh, dreamed of establishing a Dharmapradeshi Sannyas Sangha with the CSC local priestly society as well as local young women and planned its founding.In the meantime, on 11 November 1929, he retired and the task of carrying out his dream and plan fell to his successor, the esteemed Bishop Timothy John Crowley, CSC. And he called on the sisters of the Holy Cross to help him in this work.
Since then, Sister Rose Bernard, CSC, a faithful and hard-working woman, has set up the March 5, 1933 'Apostle Queen Mary's Fellowship Association' with the great intention of praying for a great cause. Built on the foundation.Since its inception, the three-person Parameshwar has been moving the movement forward.Mother Maria is the caretaker of our association and visually our esteemed archbishop and the officials of the association.
Brief biography of the founder and co-founder:
Biography of John Timothy Crowley, CSC, Founder of the Association. One such noble man who is remembered, admired, and cherished by all is our most revered Bishop, John Timothy Crowley, CSC. It is true that he is no longer alive among us today to see the prosperity of his 'daughter of the mind' but he is present in the hearts and minds of all of us, in the depths of our hearts, in the great seat of respect and love. The late His Excellency Bishop John Timothy Crowley, CSC is a great attraction in the hearts and minds of the afflicted people of Bengal. The story of his invaluable life is very striking. The Companions of the Apostles Queen Mary are the fruit of her labor. He is the worthy founder of this association. That is why the heart of Mode sings his name today and sings the song - ‘Ogo Maha Pran Tomare Pranam Kori’ Respected, devout, patriarchal Bishop Crowley is the guide to the life path of our SMRA association.
Introduction: John Timothy Crowley was born on January 16, 180 AD, to a prominent liberal family in Kilmalek, Limerick County, Ireland. The brilliant Crowley was above worldly obstacles. He entered the Holy Cross Seminary at Notre Dame University, Indiana, USA on October 12, 1897.He took the Sebabrata on August 15, 1904. He is from Washington, D.C. He holds a Ph.D. in English Philosophy from the Catholic University. Degree holder. On August 2, 1908, he was ordained in the Holy Heart Church. After that, Father Crowley taught at Notre Dame University in the United States for a year.
Journey to the Greater Mission: Father Crowley, a brilliant and learned man with many talents, arrived in Bengal on November 8, 1906, at the age of 26, as a friend of the poor.
His arrival in Bengal was in a dark environment during the British rule. Father Crowley, a relentless worker, acquired a variety of ideas through his experience and observation of the village. Only a class of people got to know his generous patriarchal heart. For the first five years of his priestly life, he worked for the betterment of the Noakhali Mission. His spiritual pursuits, teaching and management skills are the key to improvement. It was on his wise and far-sighted advice that the land of the present Archbishop's building in Ramna was first purchased in 1908 for poor children. In 1912 he became the headmaster of St. Gregory High School. In 1915, he was briefly serving in the Tumilia Mission. On December 3, 1917, Father Crowley was promoted to the rank of 'Victor General' of Dhaka Dharmapradesh due to his enlightening signature. On 24 September 1919, Father Crowley also arranged for relief work in Bengal, which was hit by a devastating cyclone.
Father Crowley's talents and qualities were unparalleled. In April 1923, he was appointed Superior of the Holy Cross Association of Bengal. When Dhaka and Chittagong divisions were divided in 1926, Father Crowley became the superintendent of Dhaka divisions. In February 1926, he was appointed editor and publisher of Dharmajyoti. In this way his work spread throughout the Christian church. On May 1, 1926, Father Crowley was nominated by the Father of the Nation as a worthy successor to Bishop Lagrand. Adult Bishop Lagrand breathed a sigh of relief as he entrusted his successor with the task of realizing the dream and plan he had set up to establish the Association of Indigenous Priests and Monks.
Invitation and return of various monks and novices ঃ Bishop Timothy Crowley is a beacon of a broken heart. In the past, due to the revolution and the weather, the foreign monks were not able to spread the message in the country. In 1926, Bishop Crowley called for the return of Nirmal Hriday Maria's Silesian Sisters and Sisters of the Holy Cross. 1929: At the urging of the bishop, the registered nurse, Sister M. Leticia Fraser, SCMM, first begins service at Tumilia and later at the Maternal and Child Welfare Center. With the permission of the Franciscans in 1932 and the Pope in 1933, the sisters of the monastery were also welcomed.
In 1941, he opened the way for the educated and the middle class to spread the word and created opportunities for financial employment. In this way the problem of unemployment also came to an end. In October of the same year, he started an eight-page monthly magazine in Ranikhong Dharmapalli to perform inspiring work among the gentlemen. At present the magazine is engaged in spreading the word of the Lord in the name of the weekly neighbor.
Best Title, Certificate of Recognition সময় Timely Outreach by Bishop Timothy John Crowley, Founder of Equality-FriendhipSatisfied with the preaching of humane love offerings, the desire to open the minds of the well-wishers, the British government awarded him the honorary title of "Kaiser-e-Hind" in the first class.
Bishop John Crowley's Immortal Fame - Establishment of "Queen Mary's Fellowship of the Apostles" স্থাপন Reverend Bishop Joseph Lagrand, CSC's 'Manas Sapna' In reality, 'Sannyas-Brat Sangha' is the companion of Queen Mary of the Apostles. This is the immortal memory of a long close seventeen years of intimate friendship.
He sent Sister Rose Bernard, CSC with Sister Alga, CSC to various places in India to inquire about the structure and functions of various associations. Then, on March 1, 1933, Saint John the Baptist took the first step in establishing the Brati Sangha in Tumilia. He shared his plan with Holy Cross Sister Rose Bernard. The bishop nominated Sister as his assistant and gave her the responsibility of forming and managing the first eight candidates.According to the bishop's plan, eight candidates meditated in solitude for three days. Finally, thanks to the tireless work and foresight of Bishop Timothy John Crowley, and with the help of Sister Rose Bernard, on Sunday, March 5, 1933, with eight candidates in the chapel of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Tumilia, the Queen of the Apostles was born.
Since the association was born in Tumilia, people used to know the sisters of this association as 'Sisters of Tumilia'. Currently known as 'SMRA' sister. Maria, the queen mother of the apostles, is the patron saint of this congregation. Therefore, the day before the Panchasattami episode is the festival day of this association which is celebrated every year with great pomp.
Sister Rose Bernard Hall is the co-founder, and Bishop Crowley continues to work tirelessly to establish the organization. The time was kept experimental until the necessary permission was obtained from Rome. The two service areas for the association are ‘Medical Services’ (Nursing) and ‘Education’. For this purpose, new sisters were sent out of the country for training.
Sister Rose Bernard, co-founder of Motherhood, was so engrossed in shaping the internal affairs of the organization with all her might that Little did he realize that his health was deteriorating. On 18 August 1936, Sister Rose Bernard passed away at Dhaka Mitford Hospital.
The Holy Cross Sisters then came forward and extended a helping hand. Under the strong leadership of the Bishop, the Children's Association was established on 16 August 1944 as a religious association. On January 7, 1945, 25 Sisters of the Union took vows before Bishop Crowley for three years and three Sisters for one year.
The bishop was so engrossed in theological work and in the excellence of the hand-made association that he did not even realize that the lamp of his life was about to be extinguished.Shortly after the full outcome of the SMRA Association, his beloved daughter Manas, Bishop Crowley was diagnosed with terminal cancer in Calcutta in 1945; Maha passed away on 2 October. He is fast asleep at the altar of Ladhibazar Church in Dhaka.
Possessing many talents, Bishop Crowley was a great man in spirituality, fit, healthy, hardworking, intelligent, insightful, wise, prudent-sensitive. The immortal life of Bishop Crowley will live on in the history of the Apostle Queen Mary's Companionship. So he said in unison: I have not forgotten Mora, I will never forget, I will not forget you.
B) A short biography of Sister Rose Bernard, co-founder ঃ Bishop Timothy J. Crowley, CSC, who was dutiful, enthusiastic, influential, hardworking, fearless, pious, courageous, hardworking, who tried to make the dream man Bishop Lagrand's 'Manas Kanya' a reality and helped him in his implementation. The one who helps in the fullest form is Sister Rose Bernard, CSC. He was born in South Bend, Indiana, on October 26, 1894, to a well-known aristocratic family. He was predeceased by his father, John J. And the only daughter of Mary Colmar Gehring. Upon graduation from the local Catholic school, Bernadette enrolled at St. Joseph's Academy. He received his degree in 1912. After that, when the First World War broke out, he received life-long training under the supervision and companionship of his parents for eight long years and gained new experience in the service of prisoners of war.
Bernadette has already lost her mother. Although he wept over his father's loneliness, he joined the Holy Cross as a novice candidate on January 3, 1920, the feast day of the holy name of Jesus, in accordance with his life's decision. Navadasha: The beginning of a new chapter in the formation of life in his special way. Navayalaya is a school for gaining knowledge about peaceful silence, spiritual pursuits, the practice of organized life in the pursuit of holiness, the presence of Sacramento Christians, the strengthening of the practice of love of Christ, etc. Sister Rose Bernard was as interested, attentive, and devoted to prayer as she was to housework in the presence of God.
Taking vows and teaching: Sister Rose Bernard took her first vows in 1922. He then earned a standing ovation for teaching at St. Theodore's School in Chicago, where he taught for four long years. Sister Rose Bernard received the Eternal Virtue on August 15, 1925, at the Kshadriya Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto in St. Mary's. He then acquired skills by learning and practicing the language. In fact, he tried his best to run a brand new children's association.
The long defense ended on October 15, 1926. He left his beloved motherland and beloved father and started his journey to Bengal with the blessings of all the well-wishers and relatives at St. Patrick's Church. He came to Bengal on 16 December and was under the care of medical sisters under the care of Bishop Lagrand. He came to Tumilia in January 1926. He was omnipotent. Specializes in teaching and service. This Tumilia seems to be the inspiration for his call.
Responsibility for the birth, formation and management of the new association: In April 1929, Bishop Lagrand first made an effort to establish the association. But due to old age it was not possible for him. So he retired, handing over the responsibility of founding the new union to the new bishop, Timothy John Crowley. Meanwhile, in Tumilia, poor, helpless, needy children and teenagers, Young men and women feel the sweet touch of Sister Rose Bernard and the touch of intense love in the conversation. He came in contact with young women in different places. Many came forward to respond to his call.
Taking charge of the new association: Reverend Bishop Timothy John Crowley, CSC himself, like Bishop Lagrand, had in mind the desire to establish a religious association in Bengal. So, he shared his best wishes with Sister Rose Bernard. He then earnestly prayed for Sister's cooperation in this noble cause, and Sister Rose Bernard agreed. As a result, on Sunday, March 5, 1933, The 'Sannyas Brati Sangha', the companion of Queen Mary of the Apostles, was born in a solemn prayer service at the Chapel of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Tumilia with eight candidates. And so Sister Rose Bernard is the co-founder of the association.
Sister Rose Bernard's Qualities: Mother Sister Rose Bernard was endowed with extraordinary qualities. He spontaneously devoted himself to this new responsibility knowing the good will of God. He seeks the help of the Holy Spirit and protects the young virgins from all evils. Sister Rose Bernard, always cheerful, calm, humble, and gentle, was far-sighted. He was brave and simple and generous in his companionship. She was a spiritual woman. The foundation of a permanent religious association with the co-operatives of the less educated young women of this country is the result of his spiritual pursuits. He sent new sisters to Calcutta and Rawalpindi for training and kept in touch with them. His aim and purpose was to write the word of Christ in the hearts of all young and old students, past, present and future.
Sudden Death: At the heart of the children's association, the enthusiastic Sister Rose Bernard was weakened by overwork and hard work to get her beloved vineyard done.
Sister was so absorbed in writing the rules of the association, composing prayers, and thinking about the overall structure of the new sisters, that she became very weak and ill. There was a big delay when the illness took a big turn. The doctor-nurse continued to fight the disease. Day and night in school-church-house, Everyone's beloved Sister Rose Bernard was begging for her life, praying for the storm to rise in heaven, but Jesus slept peacefully in the ark of life.
Sister Rose Bernard died in the fullness of time and in the will of God, in 1936, shortly after the Ascension Day. Paradise Day is a sign of many sacrifices in the life of Sister Rose Bernard. In the tomb of St. John the Baptist in Toomilia Church, Sister Rose Bernard, the beloved of all races and creeds, is fast asleep. She is an incomparable mother goddess in all our lives.
Various activities and objectives of the community: Needless to say, this SMRA Sangha is the largest and the first Bangladeshi Indigenous Dharma Sangha in Dhaka. It has a total of 214 devotees. Of these, 193 vow-holders have taken perpetual vows, 21 have received temporary vows and are serving in churches from 30 ashrams and 4 sub-ashrams in 6 religious states of Bangladesh. Already a total of 65 sisters from this association are in the church He has not left the country of his return in the presence of the Absolute Father.
SMRA Sisters are well known in Bangladesh for their skillful philanthropic work. Selfless and generous service is being rendered to children and adolescents, boys and girls, young men and women, women (mother and child) in the field of education and medicine. 104 sisters are engaged in primary and high school education. 51 sisters (3 of them medical doctors) are working in 11 dispensaries, maternity hospitals and hospitals.Moreover, the sisters are working efficiently in various social organizations, Bishop's House, Banani, CBCB Center (Laity Commission, CCP), various hostels and orphanages, Jagarni Jute Industry Center etc. Happily, the Sisters are devoting themselves to spreading the message and spreading the Kingdom in the church, not only in Dhaka, but also in six other places of worship, even in faraway Italy.
Purpose: The purpose of this association is to imitate Queen Mary of the apostles, to provide unconditional and joyful cooperation in the sending of Christ and his church, especially among children, adolescents, children, women, the poor and the afflicted. The image of Mary's heart expressed in "The Glory of the Lord" is the image of our union. Moreover, the balanced connection between meditative transmission and persuasive meditation will be manifested in the lives of the sisters as one of the characteristics of the association.
Goals and Challenges: Our goal is to make “the poor of God” a priority in all of our daily loving service. Our service will give them the dignity and rights of human beings and children. And we too will meditate on them and realize their silent service in our lives. CHALLENGES: Our realization at the moment is that our beloved SMRA Association is moving forward with relentless enthusiasm after almost 88 years. And in order to move forward, we must face some challenges.
And one of the two is the form - First, we see that our two main workplaces are teaching and medical services. In the field of education, the sisters are ready to teach in the field of education after completing the formal education.But due to various government policies, sisters are now facing a lot of challenges in gaining employment in the education sector. Secondly, in this long journey of the Sangh, we are working to spread the message in several established places. Today the time has come for us to take part in more missionary work. This is because preaching in the missionary field, though challenging, is more satisfying than preaching in an established place.
Thirdly, it is true that everyone will acknowledge that we have made a significant contribution to the education and health services in the Bangladesh Church. In other words, we are providing adequate services to children, adolescents, youth, women and the helpless poor, but we have not yet been able to do anything significant for the elderly and the disabled. So gradually I will try to do something for the welfare of the elderly and the disabled by thinking about this challenging task.
Fourth, the number of sick and elderly people in the union is currently increasing. Appropriate arrangements need to be made for their service and delivery. So in this case too we have to face many challenges. At the same time, many of our sisters today are in the presence of the Absolute Father. But; In order to fill their vacancies, the number of calls to the Union in the present reality is much less than before. Inspiring candidates with proper structure and full self-sacrifice is also a challenge for us today.
Conclusion: Our hearts are full of joy and gratitude today as we are called to the monastic life of the Companions of the Apostles Queen Mary. We deeply believe that our heavenly Father has lovingly called us to be holy like him. Above all, let us love and worship Him and dedicate our lives completely to His service. In the end, we ask for blessings from the father through the intercession of the foster mother of the association so that each of us can become humble, loyal, God-dependent like the mother and accelerate the expansion of his kingdom by fully surrendering to God's will. In the end, like our mother, we also sang the song - 'The heart sings today, the joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord'.
Writer :Sister Mary Mitali, (SMRA)
1. "History of the Apostles' Association with Queen Mary" (June 3, 2006).
2.“Memoirs” বছর 65 years, 1933-2006, the companion association of the Apostles Queen Mary.
3.Queen Maria Sangini Sangha of the Apostles, "Constitution and Discipline", 1995.